|Populated States||Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Kerala|
Etymology and claims of Kshatriya status
The Raju caste, which A. Satyanarayana calls the "locally dominant landed gentry", claims Kshatriya status in the varna system despite there being "no real Kshatriya varna" in the Andhra region.[note 1] They also claim descent from the ancient royal dynasties of India such as the Eastern Chalukyas, Chalukya-Cholas, Vishnukundina, Gajapati, Chagi, Paricheda and Kota Vamsa.
...most often used by members of noble or princely lineages. [But it] could also designate an individual employed by a lord or prince.
In medieval Andhra Pradesh, the title was used in both senses, and was very likely adopted by some secular Brahmins, who occupied important advisory functions. The royal usage at that time was particularly prevalent in the northern coastal areas of the region. Talbot also notes that the title, and others in use at that time, do not align with the Vedic four-fold varna system and in that sense could not refer to a caste. However, they do appear to have conformed to
...the existence of broad social categories based primarily on occupation. Although [the title] did not necessarily designate a distinct class, much less a bounded community, or a hereditary grouping, various sets of these titles differentiated social types marked by a common status and shared occupation.
Temple inscriptions from the period of the Kakatiya dynasty, a South Indian dynasty that ruled most of the Telugu speaking lands covered by current day Andhra Pradesh, India from 1083 CE to 1323 CE, refer both to royal and clerical rajus as donors, together with peasant leaders called reddies.
Over the centuries they have been called by various alternative names that signified their military status. During the British Raj they were known as Ratsas and Rajavars, which means of or belonging to the caste of Ratsawars (Raja Caste), using the title of Raju.
...important communities with considerable political significance in the State, although in numerical terms they constitute only a small percentage of the population and spatially are confined only to small pockets.
Uplifting of the poor
After the independence of India, Zamindari was abolished.[note 2] During this time many Raju zamindars donated their property and land liberally for the upliftment of poor and education. Vizianagaram, the oldest and largest Hindu Princely State of Andhra Pradesh (Samsthanam), was donated by Maharaja PVG Raju to the Republic of India. He also donated enormous wealth, Khazana, land, gold, diamonds, properties, palaces to Korukonda Sainik school, Andhra University, Mansas Trust and to poor and needy for schools, colleges and hospitals.
- The anthropologist Minna Säävälä glosses the present-day Rajus as a "higher caste of traditional warriors and rulers; Kshatriya", but does not provide an explanation or source for this description.
- A zamindar or zaminder or zemindar on the Indian subcontinent was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and held control over his peasants, from whom the zamindars reserved the right to collect tax (often for military purposes). Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja (Great King), Raja (King), Nawab (Lord), Mirza (Prince), Taluqdar (District Holder), Chowdhury (Lord), "Reddy", "Naidu," "Gounder," and many others.
- Satyanarayana, A. (2002). "Growth of Education among the Dalit-Bahujan Communities in Modern Andhra, 1893-1947". In Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi. Education and the Disprivileged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India. Orient Blackswan. p. 53. ISBN 978-81-250-2192-6. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- Säävälä, Minna (2001). Fertility and familial power relations: procreation in south India. Psychology Press. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0-7007-1484-1. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Krishnarao, B.V (1942). A History of the Early Dynasties of Andhradesa. V. Ramaswami Sastrulu. p. 258.
- Talbot, Austin Cynthia (2001). Precolonial India in practice: Society, Region and Identity in Medieval Andhra. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0-19-513661-6. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- Talbot, Austin Cynthia (2001). Precolonial India in practice: Society, Region and Identity in Medieval Andhra. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-19-513661-6. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- Gribble, J.D.B., History of the Deccan, 1896, Luzac and Co., London
- Talbot, Austin Cynthia (2001). Precolonial India in practice: Society, Region and Identity in Medieval Andhra. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-19-513661-6. Retrieved 2014-03-4.
- C. D. Maclean (1877). Standing information regarding the official administration of the Madras presidency in each department: in illustration of the yearly administration reports. E. Keys. pp. 341–. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Satish Chandra; Sri Venkatesvara University (1977*). Sri Rebala Lakshminarasa Reddy Endowment lectures, 1976. Sri Venkateswara University. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Krishnarao, B.V (1942). A History of the Early Dynasties of Andhradesa. V. Ramaswami Sastrulu. p. 269.
- Krishnarao, B.V (1942). A History of the Early Dynasties of Andhradesa. V. Ramaswami Sastrulu. p. 149,159.
- Srinivasulu, K. (September 2002). "Caste, Class and Social Articulation In Andhra Pradesh. Mapping Differential Regional Tragectories". London: Overseas Development Institute. p. 3. ISBN 0-85003-612-7. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- Suri, K. C. (September 2002). "Democratic Process and Electoral Politics in Andhra Pradesh, India". London: Overseas Development Institute. p. 10. ISBN 0-85003-613-5. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- N. Suman Bhat (2005), Saints of the masses, Sura Books, p.82